ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 5 September

Welcome to the latest edition of the ACOSH Advocacy in Action e-bulletin for 2019. We aim to provide topical information on advocacy for tobacco control in Western Australia, Nationally and around the world. Please forward to others who may be interested. Thank you for your support.

The work of ACOSH is generously supported by Healthway and Lotterywest.


North Metropolitan Mental Health Service smoke-free for the first time in over 100 years

On Friday 23 August 2019, more than 50 people came together to celebrate the launch of a totally smoke-free North Metropolitan Mental Health Service.

The launch was attended by the Chairman of the North Metropolitan Health Service Board Jim McGinty, Deputy Board Chair Professor David Forbes, North Metropolitan Health Service Board members Steve Toutountzis and Grant Robinson, Ros Elmes, Executive Director of Mental Health, Public Health and Dental Services, and North Metropolitan Health Services Chief Executive Dr Robin Lawrence.

Jo Fagan, Director Public Health and Chair of the Smoke Free Mental Health Steering Group, said the decision to go totally smoke-free also came with the responsibility of ensuring nicotine dependent patients receive the support and care they need whilst residing on a smoke-free site.

“A total of 110 people across NMHS MHPHDS were involved in the planning and preparations to go smoke-free,” she said.

“Supported by a Steering Group, eight working groups were established to focus on key areas of the project including communication of the policy changes to staff and mental health stakeholders, environmental changes such as signage, and training and capacity building,” Ms Fagan said.

Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive of ACOSH and member of the Smoke Free Mental Health Steering Group, also highlighted the importance of this project.

“In 1966, 58% of men and 28% of women were smokers. Fast forward to 2019, where only 9.3 per cent of adult West Australians are daily smokers – a phenomenal change over the last 53 years,” said Mr Swanson.

“We know that the rates of smoking in Australia are the lowest they’ve ever been, but some groups in our community still have much higher rates. In the patient survey conducted for this project, 56% were smokers – two percentage points below the prevalence measured in 1966.

“The Executive Director of Mental Health, Public Health and Dental Services, the NMHS Board and Chief Executive are to be congratulated,” Mr Swanson said.


Greg Hunt digs in on opposition to e-cigarettes after vaping ‘epidemic’

“The health minister, Greg Hunt, has hardened his opposition to changing Australia’s e-cigarette laws amid warnings of a vaping epidemic that has led to at least one death in the United States.

But despite the government’s stance, the vaping industry, which includes big tobacco companies such as Philip Morris, is preparing to ramp up lobbying efforts to push Canberra for policy change.”



ACOSH meeting with Hon Alison Xamon MLC

ACOSH President Professor Kingsley Faulkner AM and Chief Executive Maurice Swanson met with the Hon Alison Xamon MLC last week to discuss tobacco control priorities and the importance of a precautionary approach to e-cigarettes in Australia.

“If e-cigarettes are a safe and effective aid for smoking cessation, the e-cigarette manufacturers should submit this information to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for assessment,” said Professor Faulkner.


Vaping by teenagers on rise as tobacco companies try to hook a new generation on smoking

Educators and health experts say big tobacco companies are hooking a new generation of children on smoking by marketing candy-flavoured e-cigarette juices with glamourous social media imagery.

“We know that the tobacco industry is what we call ‘re-emergent’ in Australia and are heavily marketing these products as a reduced-risk product,” said Libby Jardine, Chair of the Cancer Council Australia Tobacco Issues Committee.

“E-cigarettes are not a reduced-risk product. We don’t have enough evidence to say e-cigarettes are safe, or safer [than tobacco smoking],” said Ms Jardine.

Dr Jongenelis, the deputy director of the WA Cancer Prevention Research Unit based at Curtin University, said Instagram influencers and celebrities have glamorised smoking again through sharing photos and videos from e-cigarette launch parties and by posting vaping tricks.

“It’s quite off-putting what’s happening with the social media marketing,” she said.

“The e-cigarette companies in the vaping industry, the tobacco industry as well, because they have a large stake now in the vaping industry, is sending the message across that this is something that’s cool.”


Big Tobacco promotes the right to vape

The latest podcast by ABC Radio National ‘Background Briefing’ investigates some of the market and ideological forces behind the push for vaping.

See also
Smoke and mirrors: The nanny state critics behind the vape debate – ABC News



New laws to stamp out ‘sneaky’ tobacco advertising

“Tobacco company branding and logos will be banned entirely from the Melbourne Grand Prix to close a loophole that was exploited by cigarette giant Philip Morris and Ferrari.

Both British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris had planned to promote their corporate brands through logos or slogans emblazoned on cars and uniforms at the race, but both companies dropped their branding after the Andrews government objected.

At the time the companies denied they were promoting any specific products in their advertising.

BAT sought to spruik its “A Better Tomorrow” campaign, which promoted “potentially reduced-risk products” through McLaren, while Ferrari promoted Philip Morris’  research division, Mission Winnow.

Cigarette advertising is already illegal but now any words or designs associated with tobacco companies will be included in the ban.”

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the government was acting to stop tobacco companies from using “sneaky tactics” to circumvent laws.

“Victoria has led the way in cracking down on deadly tobacco advertising and we want it to stay that way,” she said. “These important changes will stop tobacco giants from misleading Victorians and putting lives at risk.”



Communicating science to policymakers: six strategies for success

Scientists and researchers can be effective advocates for change.

“No matter how hard scientists work, our impact will almost always be limited to our immediate academic circles if our results never catch the attention of those who have the power to act on them. These people are often policymakers — local, state or central-government officials who write laws and regulations, craft budgets and govern communities.

But effective collaboration requires strong communication. The policy world can be tricky to navigate. Institutions can seem impenetrable, and decision-making is often opaque. Fortunately, simple strategies can help scientists to communicate effectively with policymakers.”


Philip Morris in merger talks with Altria; e-cigarettes at stake

“Philip Morris International Inc and Altria Group Inc are discussing an all-stock merger, potentially reuniting two of the world’s largest tobacco companies in a bid to dominate the fast-growing electronic-cigarette market.

A merger of the two would create a company with a market value of more than $200bn, representing the fourth-largest deal of all time, according to Refinitiv data.”


Opinion: Alex Bogusky: Big tobacco has a new plan. And it’s working.

“Vapes began as product to subvert Big Tobacco, but today the old corporate giants are major stakeholders in the market. Altria, which owns Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, also holds 35% of the vaping giant Juul; Reynolds American owns Vuse; and Imperial Tobacco owns Blu. Not a coincidence.

The vaping industry now exploits everything Big Tobacco was already good at. Grow the tobacco, extract the nicotine, provide it in concentrations even higher than found in cigarettes, put it in sleek packages and market it relentlessly and recklessly.”


Gloves off: Smoking researcher shunned over Philip Morris funding

“A finalist for New Zealander of the Year for her work with Māori smokers is at war with academics because her research is funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Marewa Glover set up the Centre for Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking in 2018 and in just one year has received $1.5 million from the US-based Foundation for a Smoke Free World – the third-largest grant the foundation has distributed anywhere in the world so far. Her centre could receive millions more.

But the foundation’s sole source of funding is the tobacco company Philip Morris, which has pledged $1.5 billion to the organisation over 12 years.

The World Health Organisation has blacklisted the foundation and researchers around the world are shunning its money, seeing it as a PR strategy for a killer industry to gain legitimacy.”


The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’

“I don’t know where he purchased it. He doesn’t know,” said Dr. Melodi Pirzada, chief pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., who treated the young man. “Luckily, he survived.

Dr. Pirzada is one of the many physicians across the country treating patients — now totaling more than 215 — with mysterious and life-threatening vaping-related illnesses this summer. The outbreak is “becoming an epidemic,” she said. “Something is very wrong.”


Tobacco industry shoving its snout under the UN tent flap

“The champagne flutes might be lined up at Philip Morris International’s (PMI) headquarters in Lausanne near Geneva after a series of recent developments that are extremely troubling for the global tobacco control movement. It may not be widely known to those who associate Switzerland with clean skies, snowy mountains and crystalline lakes, but tobacco multinationals are highly influential there and the country badly lags the rest of the world in implementing strong tobacco control policies to protect its citizens.

Given that Geneva also happens to be the headquarters for the WHO, the country’s failure to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) shows which of the two organisations seem to dominate its government policy. In fact, PMI recently cosponsored the opening of a Swiss government embassy in Moscow and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approved PMI to be the main sponsor of the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Concerned observers have been noting on social media the increased tobacco industry lobbying of United Nations (UN) officials.”

Editorial by Dr Ruth Malone published in the BMJ Tobacco Control.



From the archives – Launch of the 1989 Quit Campaign

Professor Kingsley Faulkner AM and the Hon Minister for Health, Keith Wilson MLA launching Quit Week on June 25, 1989.

The campaign highlighted that tobacco smoking contains over 7000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to be carcinogenic.




Tobacco Control News

Vinayak M Prasad (World Health Organization) – #BigTobacco should be taxed more to pay for the health costs of smoking – EU Reporter

Vaping’s other problem: are e-cigarettes creating a recycling disaster? – The Guardian

First death linked to vaping reported in Illinois – BBC News

Warnings on individual cigarettes could reduce smoking – University of Stirling

Tobacco giant Philip Morris tried to target poor through poverty group and Counties Manukau DHB – NZ Herald

More evidence that e-cigs harm the cardiovascular system in healthy young adults – and it’s not the nicotine – UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

‘We don’t promote to youth’ says Philip Morris NZ official as high schools report students are vaping – 1NEWSNOW

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